Posted by: geolocke | 2015/09/19

Guatemalan Journal Entry: Day #2

Day two – Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The day begins at 5am with music playing to help wake the Sisters and the girls. Chores are begun and Morning Prayer is at 6am. Breakfast with the Sisters is at 6:45am. After breakfast, once the girls have left for school across the street, we give Sr. R a tour of the Internado’s facilities. We show Sr. R the re-built Kitchen (2002-2003) and the dining hall, the work and study rooms beside and above the dining hall and kitchen, the re-built bathhouse (2006-2007), the dormitories (new roofs 2000-2001), and the Chapel.

After touring the Internado, we cross the street to give Sr. R a tour of La Annunciata, the School. The school is open to all children of the town, but their Parents must pay for their education. The Girls from the Internado attend the school with the other children from the town, but they return to the Internado to eat meals, study, and live. We introduce Sr. R to the assistant principal who provides us with a tour of the school grounds. We visit the library which was built and supplied with books with the aid of our parishioners. The Library is dedicated to the memory of Monsignor Tim O’Connor, our former pastor.

We also watch as the children exercise on the large field as we make our way over to the new classroom building. On the way, one teacher invites us to be guests in her English language class for rising seniors which meets just before noon, and Sr. J asks if we can help with her Religious Education class in the early afternoon. We agree to do both, but first we take a tour of the new classroom building. At the base of the stairs on the first floor is a small plaque and memorial dedicated to Allan Rubio in memory and honor of all he accomplished helping the Internado and La Annunciata.

Sr. J tells us that the first two floors are complete and classes are so full that they are doubling up each classroom to accommodate all the students. Construction is continuing on the third and top floor, but at a slower pace which is dictated by whatever funds the Sisters can raise in order to purchase materials and labor. The framing and roof is installed and they are slowly working on the interior of the rooms but they have a long way to go before they are ready to hold classes on the top floor. The top floor will also include a teacher’s lounge once it is completed.

There is the sound of a marching band coming over the compound wall from the athletic field next door. There are several other schools in the area that adjoin either the Internado or La Annunciata. All the schools have their own compounds enclosed in high walls. This is not the first band we have heard practicing. Every school band and community band is practicing in preparation for the parades on Guatemala’s birthday celebration which is coming up on September 15th. It is close to the time for the English language class so we hurry down to the auditorium where the class is being held.

This is a long building with a stage at one end and a sheet metal roof. The sides are open above the walls to let breezes cool the building. The language class is held on the stage where different groups of students are singing English language songs, mostly modern/current music, in order to help them learn how to pronounce English language words. It is like a large karaoke contest, but unfortunately the marching band next door decides to camp out directly next to the auditorium on the other side of the compound wall, so it is very difficult to hear the students sing. The students and the teacher struggle on anyway and make some success. We soon realize it is time to leave for the Religious education class. We thank the teacher for letting us attend and we encourage the students to keep practicing.

We make our way back to the new classroom building and step into the religious education class preparing to begin. Sr. D. introduces us to the class and begins the lesson. Today’s lesson is about how we see ourselves as members of the body of Christ. The students share some examples how they perceive themselves being members of the body of Christ and Sr. D. translates them for us. Then it is our time to share. For myself, I share how I have grown to know and appreciate the struggles of the Guatemalan people and how closely the students and the Sisters at the Internado are connected to the people of our Parish. I also tell them that since they are, in my mind, part of my larger family, their health and welfare has become a portion of my daily prayers which I offer up for all the students of the Internado and La Annunciata and for their families. K. and Sr. R. give similar reflections while Sr. D. translates our reflections for the girls. We finish the class singing a couple of songs led by Sr. D. plying her guitar.

After the morning classes are over, we take a tuk-tuk up to the market and give Sr. R a feel for the market experience before walking back to the Internado for Lunch. After Lunch we meet in the courtyard of the Internado just outside the dining hall and begin assembling gift bags for the Girls and the Sisters. The gift bags are composed of all the donations we received and brought with us. We stop in time to make room for the Girl’s to have their supper. Afterwards we join the girls for their evening prayer in the Chapel. After the Girl’s evening prayer is complete, they retire to their study halls while we join the Sisters for a light supper. Afterwards we chat for a while before we make our way to our own rooms for reflection upon the day, journal entries and night prayer. Lights out for the girls is 9pm and soon all becomes quiet at the Internado.

In my room I write in my journal, pray my rosary, and then turning out my light by 10pm, I fall asleep almost instantly.



  1. I really liked this entry because of all the details about the Internado, the girls’ day, and the school. I missed, however, the “closure” of the loop that you were going to assist in the English and Religious Ed classes. I hope you will include that in a later post!


    • You have a Sharp eye for detail. I went back and realized I had missed a page. I have since added it to this post. I inserted three paragraphs beginning after Paragraph #4. See if this fills in the missing details you were looking for. Perhaps I should hire you as my editor? 🙂 Thanks for keeping me honest!


  2. Mucho mejor.


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